Thermopower waves are a recently developed energy conversion concept utilizing dynamic temperature and chemical potential gradients to harvest electrical energy while the combustion wave propagates along the hybrid layers of nanomaterials and chemical fuels. The intrinsic properties of the core nanomaterials and chemical fuels in the hybrid composites can broadly affect the energy generation, as well as the combustion process, of thermopower waves. So far, most research has focused on the application of new core nanomaterials to enhance energy generation. In this study, we demonstrate that the alignment of core nanomaterials can significantly influence a number of aspects of the thermopower waves, while the nanomaterials involved are identical carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Diversely structured, large-area CNT/fuel composites of one-dimensional aligned CNT arrays (1D CNT arrays), randomly oriented CNT films (2D CNT films), and randomly aggregated bulk CNT clusters (3D CNT clusters) were fabricated to evaluate the energy generation, as well as the propagation of the thermal wave, from thermopower waves. The more the core nanostructures were aligned, the less inversion of temperature gradients and the less cross-propagation of multiple thermopower waves occurred. These characteristics of the aligned structures prevented the cancellation of charge carrier movements among the core nanomaterials and produced the relative enhancement of the energy generation and the specific power with a single-polarity voltage signal. Understanding this effect of structure on energy generation from thermopower waves can help in the design of optimized hybrid composites of nanomaterials and fuels, especially designs based on the internal alignment of the materials. More generally, we believe that this work provides clues to the process of chemical to thermal to electrical energy conversion inside/outside hybrid nanostructured materials.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (NRF-2013R1A1A1010575), and by the Nano R&D Program through the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (NRF-2012M3A7B4049863).
© 2014, Hwang et al.; licensee Springer.
- Alignment of nanostructures
- Carbon nanotube
- Energy conversion
- Thermopower waves
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics